The 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly have adopted by consensus a resolution that calls for "equitable, efficient and timely" access to any future vaccines developed to fight coronavirus.

The resolution, which was drafted by Mexico and received US support, calls for strengthening the "scientific international co-operation necessary to combat Covid-19 and to bolster co-ordination", including with the private sector.

The resolution also highlights the "crucial leading role" played by the World Health Organization, which has faced criticism from the United States and others about its handling of the pandemic.

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The call for co-operation comes as research laboratories and pharmaceutical manufacturers launch expensive efforts to develop vaccines and other therapeutics that could be critical in fighting the pandemic, which has already killed more than 167,000 people and sent world economies into tailspin.

The resolution asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to "identify and recommend options, including approaches to rapidly scaling manufacturing and strengthening supply chains that promote and ensure fair, transparent, equitable, efficient and timely access to and distribution of preventive tools, laboratory testing, reagents and supporting materials, essential medical supplies, new diagnostics, drugs and future Covid-19 vaccines".

It also asks that such measures to develop and share treatments and vaccines are taken "with a view to making them available to all those in need, in particular in developing countries".

The resolution is the second adopted by the assembly about the coronavirus pandemic.

The first one, adopted earlier this month, also called for international co-operation in fighting the spread of the disease.

Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly are not binding but can have important political influence.